- Injuries to the female genital area (labia, vulva, vagina)
- Injuries to the male genital area (scrotum or penis)
Types of Genital Injuries
- Most are bruises (with swelling) or minor cuts that heal rapidly in 3 to 4 days.
- Minor injuries can cause lots of bleeding here because of the rich blood supply.
- Definition: injury to the groin from falling on an object that is being straddled.
- Examples are playground equipment, crossbars of a bicycle, fence, etc.
- Females usually get a bruise or small cut of the labia majora or minora. The female urethra and hymen are usually spared because they are protected by the overlying labia.
- In males, the urethra is more external and it can be compressed between the hard object and the bony pelvis. The urethra can be bruised or torn.
- The most reliable finding of a damaged urethra is a drop of blood at the opening of the urethra. Other findings are bloody urine, difficulty starting the stream or painful urination.
Should I Call?
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
- Major bleeding that can't be stopped
- Fainted or too weak to stand
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You think your child has a serious injury
- External bleeding won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
- Bleeding from inside the vagina
- Vaginal injury with a penetrating object
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Zipper caught (stuck) on penis now
- Swollen or painful scrotum
- Painful urination or difficulty passing urine
- Blood in urine
- Severe pain
- Age under 1 year old
- Could have been caused by sexual abuse or assault
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- No tetanus shot in over 5 years for DIRTY cuts (over 10 years for CLEAN cuts)
- Genital pain or swelling persists over 7 days
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
- Minor genital injury and you don't think your child needs to be seen
Care at Home
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR GENITAL INJURIES
- For any bleeding, apply direct pressure for 10 minutes with a sterile gauze.
- Note: minor cuts in the genital area can cause much oozing of blood because of the rich blood supply.
- For the same reason, the area heals quickly (3 or 4 days).
- Cut or Scrape Treatment:
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.
- For any dirt, scrub gently with a wash cloth.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin (no prescription needed) 2 times per day.
- Local Cold: For bruises or swelling, apply a cold wet washcloth to the area once for 20 minutes if tolerated. (Reason: reduce the bleeding and pain).
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen as needed for pain relief.
- Expected Course: Cuts and other minor injuries in the genital area heal quickly in 3 or 4 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain becomes severe
- Passing urine becomes difficult or painful
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 6/1/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Version Year: 2012
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.